In years past, there’s been an unfortunate undercurrent of rivalry and promoter-driven one-upmanship when it came to celebrating Diwali in Orlando. Without getting into all the down-and-dirty details, it suffices to say that when it comes to the Festival of Lights, area Hindus were faced with deciding between competing *melas*, each with its own detractors and supporters. It’s not entirely clear if that rivalry continues, but we’ve only heard about one Diwali Mela this year, put on by Hari Singh out at Ocoee High School. Yeah, it’s not the Citrus Bowl (where Singh has produced melas in the past), but the celebration – complete with a full cultural program featuring singing and dancing, as well as local vendors and a kids’ pageant – but hey, not having to choose sides for such a celebratory festival more than makes up for the smaller scale of the event.
Originally appeared Oct. 23, 2010 in Orlando Weekly.